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Sophie

A couple I really admired is getting a divorce...

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My cousins' parents have separated. I always thought they were a great couple. They were a real team together. I'll call them Patrick and Kara. When Patrick wanted to go on a diet to lose weight, Kara completely supported him by following the same diet and changing all the food in the fridge. They did family trips together, had two great kids, hosted family dinners, had me and my mom over a lot for dinner, took me and their son out for play-dates when we were little children, participated in the same hobbies...they were together for over twenty years, married for around 22. I was just told today by my mom that Kara and Patrick are getting a divorce, and Patrick hasn't been living in the house for approximately 3 months. It's such a blow to me. I have never had positive role models when it comes to marriage (my own parents got married after 12 years of being together and separated 9 or so years later.) Whenever I got depressed about divorce rates, unhappy marriages, etc, Patrick and Kara were a couple I thought of as a good example of making a marriage work. But now...it just sucks so much. And I especially feel sorry for their children! Their son is 19 and their daughter is 15.

Any advice on how to deal with this? It just makes love and marriage look so bleak. Like if they can't make it work, how can I? It's hard enough already for me to believe in marriage because I rarely see it work out. But they seemed so great together, as parents, as friends, and as a couple, but the marriage still failed. They're not my parents, but it actually affects me way more than my parents' separation because my parents are such a weird pairing that I could never figure out what they saw in each other in the first place.

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I don't really know how to respond to this, but I'm going to give it a try. Maybe try to talk to your mom and see if she knows the circumstances of the divorce. This may help you get some closure. Other than that the best I can say to you is this: sometimes things fall apart and there is nothing we can do about it. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes one thing must go, so that another better thing can come along. I know these are all cliche, but sometimes cliche is what gets you through hard times.

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Hey Sophie, I wasn't initially going to respond to this because I didn't think I could be much help, but you seem to be very mature and sure of your values and just in need of a little encouragement in this area. First of all, I can't imagine the sinking feeling you must have had when you got that news. It sucks. I was terrified at one point that my older brother would end up getting a divorce with the wife he was crazy about after just a few years (they're doing better now). I've never been in your situation, but I do have a huge fear of divorce. I've longed for true, lasting love for as long as I can remember, and the the thought of having it (or thinking I have it) and losing it...ehh. The couple I look to when I feel down about marriage and love is my parents. Their 30th anniversary is tomorrow, and by all appearances they're still madly in love (well, more like firmly). They were never shy as I was growing up about showing each other affection in front of their kids, and of course it grossed me out at the time, but I'm also grateful I have that example of lasting romance. Now, if my parents were for some reason to get divorced in the future, as heartbreaking and tough to deal with as that would be, I think I would still keep up hope for my own marriage. That is because I saw it work, whether it ended well or not. I would know that something had to have gone wrong at some point, and that that doesn't at all mean it would go wrong for me. And to me, love is worth that risk. Besides, I'm still more likely to find fulfillment (not total fulfillment, I know you shouldn't base your happiness entirely on a relationship) in a marriage to the one I've waited for than in casual sex or even being alone for the rest of my life. My advice would be to focus on how they were at one point happy in each other and making their marriage work, because as long as that's true, divorce cannot be an inevitability. As long as that's true, and you're honest and open with yourself and your spouse, and you're putting in the effort marriage requires, I think you will be able to see any problems coming and at least have the opportunity to overcome them; and isn't that what true love does? I feel like if you're WTM, have your priorities straight, and go into marriage with realistic expectations, then you're on the right track. Anyway, this was longer and more jumbled than I intended, but I hope it was at least some small encouragement. :)

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Hi Sophie! I'm actually in a situation similar to yours. My neighbors (I'll call them Brandon and Meghan) were the cutest couple to me. They loved their kids, the husband was a sweetheart and always so genuinely kind. They hosted backyard parties and I played with their kids when I was younger. They seemed like a pefect couple too, until I heard they separated due to Brandon cheating on Meghan. I was so heart broken that at my Sweet Sixteen party, I went over to them, took their hands and told them that I wished for both of their happiness. That they made a great team and that I admired them, but above all else I wanted them to follow their dreams and hearts. They spent the whole time holding hands and crying, and for a while I thought they would get back together. Unfortunately they didn't- they divorced only a year later. They had too many differences. They had married each other after only 5 months of dating, and they felt they jumped into it too quick. Their experience taught me something important though. Just because a couple seems good together, doesn't mean they are compatible. They tried to make it work, but they couldn't. A relationship needs time to grow and mature, and they didn't prepare themselves enough before getting married. Maybe Patrick and Kara had a similar dilemma? All I know is that love is something unique to everyone- we all have diferent definitons of it and maybe they didn't share in those definitions. People may smile though pain in front of others, but then have a horrible relationship when alone with a partner. But just because it didn't work out for them, doesn't mean it won't work out for you. Take their situation as a guide, and strengthen your own relationship based on what you've heard. Talk over with your partner some of the problems you've seen married couples have. Use others as a warning and take note of what exactly caused problems- money, secrets, cheating, lonliness? As long as you and your partner are open about your feelings, it should work out. ^_^

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